Popular Titanium Backup Android app gets booted from Google Play Store

Google recently implemented stricter rules around reading SMS and call logs to prevent malicious apps from gaining access to those personal data. That policy, however, put apps like Tasker and Titanium Backup in limbo since they needed those permissions for valid but unsupported purposes. Google eventually loosened the restrictions a bit to allow the likes of Tasker to be exempted. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for Titanium Backup but the story might not be so straightforward as it seems.

Tasker needs permissions both to read and to send SMS for the sake of automation. Titanium Backup, on the other hand, most likely needs it for, well, backing up. Both use cases fall under Google's list of exempted use cases, which is how Tasker was able to apply for a temporary exception. Titanium Backup, however, has been removed from the Google Play Store which raises questions on what happened.

Over on its Twitter account, the developer revealed that it had already removed the need for SMS and Call Log permissions but, for some reason, the form asking for those permissions didn't disappear. That violated Google's rules and the developer has asked its fans to help reach out to Google to reinstate the app.

It may seem like unfair treatment on the surface, especially given Titanium Backup's popularity. At the same time, it's puzzling how the developer ran into that problem only now. News of the policy change went out last November and Google has given developers ample time to make the needed changes or even apply for an exception. The fact that Tasker operates as normal is perhaps proof that the process works.

That also raises the question of whether Titanium Backup even applied for an exception in the first place. From its post, it seems it decided to just remove the functionality entirely rather than deal with the (digital) paperwork.